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Using Software in Qualitative Research

Using Software in Qualitative Research
A Step-by-Step Guide

  • Ann Lewins - Qualitative Data Analysis Services (QDAS)
  • Christina Silver - University of Surrey, UK, Qualitative Data Analysis Services, UK

304 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Using Software in Qualitative Research combines several aspects of Computer Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis (CAQDAS), helping the reader choose the most appropriate package for their specific needs and get the most out of the software once they are using it. The text considers tasks and processes, bringing them together to demystify qualitative software and encourage flexible and critical choices and uses of software in supporting analysis.

This text can be read as a whole or chapters can be treated on a more stand-alone basis, building on one another to provide a holistic sense of the analytic journey without advocating a particular sequential process.

Accessible and comprehensive, Making Sense of Software in Qualitative Research provides a practical but analytically grounded guide to thinking about and using software and will be an essential companion for any qualitative researcher.
Processes and Tasks in Using Qualitative Software
Data and Their Preparation for CAQDAS Packages
Getting Started in Qualitative Software
Practical Tasks

Exploration and Text-Level Work
Qualitative Coding in Software
Principles and Processes

Coding Schemes, Coding Frames
Coding Tasks in Software
Basic Retrieval of Coded Data
Managing Processes and Interpretations by Writing
Mapping Ideas and Linking Concepts
Organizing Data to Known Characteristics
Interrogating the Dataset
Convergence, Closeness, Choice

'This book is an important and updated addition to the scarce literature [available] for choosing a software package to support the analysis of data in qualitative research….[T]he clear, concise, and practical language as well as the numerous pictures…will help any confused, technologically anxious user feel more competent in using technology for…analysis'

Forum: Qualitative Social Research

The text is like having Ann or Christina at

your shoulder guiding you through,

explaining not only the practical steps, but

why you might want to do something in

the first place. A good marriage of

methodological reflection and practical


Duncan Branley
Goldsmiths College, University of London

[The] authors have written a very helpful

step-by-step guide, comparing different

software packages, including ‘real

research’ examples and proposing

interesting tasks to the reader. This is a

long awaited textbook.

Wilma C. Mangabeira
Middlesex University

This is an excellent book which provides clear guidance and examples of how to use software for the analysis of data.

Mrs Christine Cattermole
UCO, University Campus Oldham
September 5, 2013

We have a lot of students doing qualitative research for their bachelor or masterthesis in Business Administration (Radboud University Nijmegen). My role as a teacher is to provide students at the bachelor and master level with a workshop on Atlas.ti, and to supervise several students in the thesis trajectory.

This book provides my students with a very useful and precise introduction in various software programmes that can support their data analysis. I recommend this book to my students for two reasons. First, the book provides students who aim to reach an informed decision about which software programme to use in their project with useful information. Second, when they have already chosen a programme, the book can function as a guide on how to use the programme and as a source for looking up special functions and features of that programme.

One of the additional strengths of this book is that the book is structured in such a way that the process of qualitative data analysis is captured. Thus, students are informed on how to approach their data. This additional focus on the process of qualitative data analysis and its iterative character helps students to improve their analysis and to develop their skills as qualitative researchers.

Mrs Liesbeth Gulpers
Nijmegen School of Management, Radboud University Nijmegen
June 4, 2013

this book helps in creating scientific method for analyzing qualitative data

Dr George Kodsy
information technology, college applied science
May 21, 2013

A detailed guide to using software when conducting qualittative research. Excellent resource when attempting to code and report complex data

Mr Michael Hall
Management , City College Norwich
July 12, 2011

This book is easy reading and will enable novice researchers to use software for qualitative analysis

Ms Louise Lawson
Dept of Nursing & Midwifery, Hertfordshire University
December 1, 2010

A very practical and instructive introduction and guide to CAQDAS. Especially the ‘variable’ starting point - how to use the book - makes it a versatile tool for undergraduate students as well as for researchers, experimenting with qualitative analysis software. Superb figures ease the comprehension.

Dr Tino Meitz
Department for Media Studies, Eberhard Karls University Tuebingen
April 26, 2010

This book is a very useful resource for students looking to use a software package for their data analysis - it will not only help students to decide on which software is most suitable for their data and research aims, but it also provides a clear and comprehensive guide on how to use the software and get the most out of it.

Mrs Nikki Shelton
Department of Criminology, University of Leicester
February 16, 2010

Highly recommended reading for this course. Clear and thorough introduction to CAQDAS.

Dr Paul Miller
School of Sport, University of Cumbria
February 9, 2010

Ann Lewins

Christina Silver

Christina Silver, PhD, is a qualitative researcher and teacher of all the major CAQDAS packages, including ATLAS.ti, Dedoose, MAXQDA, QDA Miner, Qualrus, NVivo, and Transana. She manages the CAQDAS Networking Project, based at the University of Surrey, UK. The project provides information, advice, training, and ongoing support in different software programs designed to facilitate qualitative and mixed-methods analysis. Christina also undertakes research, training, and consultancy via her consortium Qualitative Data Analysis Services Ltd. and is the coauthor, with Ann Lewins, of Using Software in Qualitative Research: A Step-by-Step Guide ... More About Author

SAGE Research Methods is a research methods tool created to help researchers, faculty and students with their research projects. SAGE Research Methods links over 175,000 pages of SAGE’s renowned book, journal and reference content with truly advanced search and discovery tools. Researchers can explore methods concepts to help them design research projects, understand particular methods or identify a new method, conduct their research, and write up their findings. Since SAGE Research Methods focuses on methodology rather than disciplines, it can be used across the social sciences, health sciences, and more.